EASY MEATBALLS FOR A QUICK WEEKNIGHT SUPPER


These meatballs are my favourite weeknight dinner because they are insanely quick to make. Even quicker, might I add, if you prep everything earlier in the week, but more on that later.

Ingredients for 2 people:
Homemade tomato sauce
375g beef mince (or turkey, pork or a mixture)
Half a slice of stale bread
1 clove garlic
Herbs of your choice
Kale or spaghetti and parmesan to serve

Make your tomato sauce using the recipe linked above and allow to simmer while you put your meatballs together.

In a small food processor, blend together the bread, garlic and herbs until you have fine breadcrumbs. I love using basil, but rosemary would add warmth and coriander would lend a Mexican flavour (add chill to the sauce and you've got yourself a whole new meal). If you don't have any stale bread, you can toast it and then cool it completely, which makes a nice crunchy breadcrumb. You can really use whatever you have to hand here - I used pitta once (don't recommend it) and it still worked fine. In a large bowl, combine the mince with your breadcrumb mixture and mix with your hands until the breadcrumbs are evenly spread throughout. You can also use an egg to bind, but I don't find I need it with pure beef mince. Separate the mixture and roll into evenly-sized balls; I think this amount of mince splits nicely into 12 meatballs, but this is really up to you.

Heat some oil in an ovenproof non-stick pan/skillet and gently fry the meatballs until they are nice and brown. Then pour the sauce into the pan to cover the meatballs and bake in the oven at 180C for 20-30 minutes (this depends on how long you have fried them for, and also if you have made them smaller than I do).

I like to serve with kale and a sprinkling of parmesan; it makes for a really hearty, warming meal that is perfect for winter. If you're having the meatballs with spaghetti, you can probably halve the ingredients (or invite two extra people over for dinner!).


This meal is SO easy to make ahead, and I really suggest doing it when you know you have a busy week coming up. You can make a big batch of meatballs on the day you do your food shopping (I tend to split a large packet of mince in half, make one half into meatballs and keep the other half for bolognese or moussaka) and freeze them in a tupperware container. The same goes for the sauce! Just defrost for 24 hours in the fridge then fry the meatballs, add the sauce and pop straight in the oven when you want them. This would also work well if you're making food for one - just freeze the meatballs in individual serving sizes.

Now that it's so much darker in the evenings, it's getting really hard to photograph the food I make. I don't like eating big meals like this for lunch at the weekend, so really my only option is to improve my low-light photography (and curb my shaky hands!). Do you have any photography tips for me? Also...I'm usually so hungry that I just don't have 10 minutes to properly photograph something, let alone keep a hungry boyfriend from his dinner. I'm sure other people have this problem too! Thoughts?

A PHOTO FOR FRIDAY | 15

When you read this, I will probably have just landed in Kuala Lumpur, en route to my favourite noodle shop! I had every intention of scheduling some posts for whole I'm away (two and a half weeks, people!) but I just didn't have time.

If you would like to subject yourself to a little tropical life envy, may I direct you to my instagram

See you in November (what!?)

EASY TOMATO SAUCE RECIPE


This is such an easy thing to make, I almost daren't call it a recipe. I'm pretty sure it came up on an old Jamie Olive repeat, or something similar, but it's been a total game changer in my weeknight dinner repertoire. To make tomato sauce, I used to finely chop onions and garlic and simmer for ages with chopped tomatoes and a bit of white wine vinegar, but this way is not only far easier, but tastes better too, with an intensely rich tomato-y-ness (that's a word), subtle sweetness and lovely thick texture.

To make enough for 2:
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
A few basil leaves
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
Olive oil

Just four ingredients, my friends! Gently fry the garlic in olive oil with the basil stalks for about a minute (don't burn the garlic), add the chopped tomatoes, bring to the boil and then simmer for as long as you like. THAT'S IT. If you're in a hurry, ten minutes at a gentle simmer is fine, but if you have things to do around the house - a quick shower, a bit of dusting, last night's washing up (guilty) - then leave it to bubble away and steam up your kitchen with the most delicious aroma. FYI, put this on just before you have friends over and they will think they've walked into an Italian nonna's house.

I like to make a big batch of this on a Sunday afternoon to pop in the fridge for ad hoc suppers and packed lunches throughout the week. Also, the more garlic the better! Add chilli for a bit of a kick, or meaty herbs like rosemary and thyme for an added layer of warmth.

Serving suggestions:
Stir through cooked quinoa and add some vegetables for tomorrow's packed lunch
Pour over courgette noodles for a super low-cal meal (perfect if you're doing the 5:2 diet)
MEATBALLS! (recipe coming soon)
Spread over a tortilla wrap with some cheese for a speedy quesadilla

CHALKBOARD MENUS


I like the idea of chalkboard paint, but I just think it looks so messy. Imagine all the chalk dust everywhere! Also, I don't know if anyone else has this - I know the usual pet hate is nails on a chalkboard, but what I really really hate is the sound of a chalkboard being wiped clean, especially by one of those old school erasers.

What I do love, however, is chalkboard menus. I think they look so cool in cafes, especially with a bit of swirling typography and a couple of scrolling banners. Now, if I could just master the art of an impeccably drawn design, then I might consider it in my house (kitchen, hallway, bathroom??).

Do you have any chalkboard walls in your house?

{1, 2, 3, 4} - my bad, totally didn't realise the 2nd and 3rd are the same place!

A PHOTO FOR FRIDAY | 14



If you follow me on Instagram I'm afraid you'll have seen this one already. And if you don't - you must be crazy! You're missing out on a whole load of bunny pics.

This picture was taken on a particularly wet morning, right after I went to the clinic for my smear test. TMI? Perhaps, but ever since a friend blogged about her experiences, I really feel like it's something we should talk about more. After I read her post, I brought it up with my friends and it turned out they'd all been to have theirs already! It takes 5 minutes, it's awkward for all of 1 minute of that, and if you're all clear, you don't have to think about in for another 3 years. Actually, my nurse said to me 'it's a present. It's your birthday present from Cameron (the British prime minister) for turning 25.' I think she was being sarcastic because we can all think of things we'd rather be doing on a Thursday morning but actually, yes, it is a gift. I'm thankful for access to free healthcare and I'll be darned if I don't take advantage of it. So if you are 25 and you live in the UK, go get your smear!

This weekend my flatmates are moving out and my cousin is moving in (with his 50in tv!!) so there's lots of coming and going and a big deep clean on the cards for us. Enjoy!

HOMEMADE PESTO + COURGETTE NOODLES



Have you made your own pesto before? Well, you should. It takes so little effort, but the pay-off is mega. It really is a totally different thing altogether to the stuff you get in a jar (which, mind you, I also like), and a little goes a long way. The best part is it's super easy and you can cater to your own tastes.

The basic recipe for pesto is fresh basil + toasted pine nuts + garlic + olive oil + parmesan. The easiest way to make it is in a food processor, but it's simple enough to finely chop everything too.

To make a basic pesto for 2
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp pine nuts dry fried in a pan until just toasted
large handful of basil
2 tbsp grated parmesan
plenty of olive oil

When you make your own pesto, you realise how much oil actually goes into it, and it is really not healthy at all despite all of the fresh ingredients! First, whizz up the dry ingredients and then slowly add the oil in, gently stirring as you go until you get the consistency you like.



My pesto usually varies depending on what we have in the fridge, so this version I made for a packed lunch features a small handful of basil leaves, a big handful of baby spinach, a clove of garlic, a little parmesan, a small handful of cashew nuts and two tablespoons of olive oil. The mixture could be looser, but I didn't want to load up on too much oil, so I added a little water to it instead.

I've also used cherry and sundried tomatoes before to make red pesto, and using a fried garlic clove takes some of the sharpness out of the raw stuff.



Since I'm trying to eat lots of salads and lighter lunches at the minute, I decided to make courgette noodles. Have you made them before? I usually grate a courgette with my julienne peeler and add it to spaghetti to pad out a meal a bit, but this time I just went for pure courgette, which I grated and then blanched in boiling water for about 30 seconds.

Next time I'm going to add some cherry tomatoes in for a different texture, and I've also heard of adding mashed avocado for a creamier sauce.

Got any epic pesto recipes for me to try?

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